For most, summer is a time to relax, go on holiday, and catch up on all those books you’ve been meaning to read all year. Here we provide you with our classic summer audio book mix, which includes those books that have stood the test of time. Some of these masterpieces were not seen for their greatness when first released. Yet, as the years have passed, they have become some of the most influential books ever written. Listen free to these popular classic audio books to while away those long lazy summer days…

Awakening – Kate Chopin

Shocking at its time of release in 1899, Kate Chopin book portrays a woman stuck in a lifeless marriage and who looks for love elsewhere. Marital infidelity was not a common topic during Victorian times, and this book shows how women were treated in society during the 19th century. This classic is widely thought of as one of the earliest works of feminism.

David Copperfield – Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens drew on his own experience to create David Copperfield. It tells the story of a young man and his journey to becoming a successful writer. From his impoverished childhood to adulthood, we meet some unforgettable characters along the way which continues to make this a must-read.

Beautiful and Damned – F. Scott. Fitzgerald

Now regarded as one of America’s great writers, at the time F. Scott. Fitzgerald’s works were not critically acclaimed. In his second novel, we follow Harvard educated Anthony Patchand and his wife Gloria, who are due to inherit his grandfather’s fortune. We see the nouveau riche couple living the wild life in New York, and the devastating effects it has on their marriage.

Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Crime and Punishment is probably Dostoyevsky’s most well-known book. It follows the story of Rodion Raskonilov, a desperately poor law student who plans to kill a pawnbroker. This book is often described as a physiological thriller, as it goes further than just the murder. It delves deep into the underworld of 19th century Saint Petersberg and portrays the harsh complexity of Russian society at the time.

Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

Anna is the wife of a Russian official, Karenin, and mother to their child. But when she meets the dashing Coun Vronsky at the train station, they are immediately attracted to each other. Anna soon learns however that he will propose to the younger sister of her sister-in-law. Taken over by attraction, they embark on an extramarital affair. The two lovers flee to Italy and as a result, it leads to tragic consequences. Tolstoy’s brilliant portrayal of the characters sucks you in from the beginning, which makes this hard to put down. This is an eight-part 19th century Russian masterpiece!

Tess of the d’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy

The impoverished Tess learns that she is the descendant of the once-wealthy D’Urbervilles, and goes to their home in search of work. There she meets Alec D’Urberville, who she thinks is her cousin, but in fact, he is an impostor who has stolen the well-known name. He rapes Tess and she ends up pregnant with his baby. More tragedy follows when she returns home and her baby dies.

Later, Tess finds love with a kind man, Angel, and battles with the decision whether to reveal her past. When Angel finally learns the truth, he leaves her for Brazil as he feels her past sins are too big. A heartbreaker of a read from Thomas Hardy that challenges the sexual morals of the Victorian era.

Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman

A collection of poems from one of the most influential American poets. Whitman kept revising Leaves of Grass up until his death in 1892. By the end, it contained more than 400 poems. Each poem is loosely connected with a focus on sensual pleasures. These were frowned upon at its time of release and branded “obscene” by many. Nowadays, however, it is seen as one of the most important collections of poetry. It has been used by many groups over the years as the work embraces the acceptance of all.

Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad

Heart of Darkness is a story within a story by Polish-British writer Joseph Conrad. Onboard an anchored ship on the River Thames, Charlie Marlow recounts his journey up the Congo to meet Ivory trader Kurtz. A book covering imperialism and racism, it highlights that there is little difference between the civilized and the so-called “savages”. Considered one of the most influential books ever written, as a result, it inspired the epic Francis Ford Coppolas film, Apocalypse Now.

The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne

Hester Prynne conceives a child out of wedlock and refuses to reveal who the father is. Her punishment is to wear a scarlet letter “A” on her clothing. When her husband, who was presumed dead in a shipwreck, turns up he vows to get revenge. Meanwhile, her lover remains anonymous. This work of Historical Fiction was one of the first mass-produced books in America.

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